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Beat The Boots: Digital Volumes of “Motown Unreleased 1962” Quietly Released Online

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Motown Unreleased - GirlsThere’s been much talk this week of Bob Dylan’s 50th Anniversary Collection, a (very) limited edition title released in Europe to protect the singer’s 1962 recordings from entering the public domain there.  But we can report that it’s not alone.  On December 18, Universal Music very quietly released six exciting, digital-only compilations under the umbrella of Motown Unreleased: 1962The New York Times has been among those speculating that the 120 tracks contained on the six “albums” have all been liberated from the vaults as a result of the same “use it or lose it” European copyright provision that led Sony to make the Dylan tracks available for the first time.

The Motown Unreleased: 1962 campaign, alas only available in digital format from providers including Amazon.com and iTunes, includes two volumes each of The Guys and Jazz, and one volume each for The Girls and Gospel.  In 1962, the young Motown family of labels included Divinity (gospel), Gordy (home to The Temptations, The Vandellas and The Contours), Mel-o-dy (Lamont Dozier, The Creations, The Charters), Tamla (The Miracles, The Marvelettes, Marvin Gaye), Workshop (jazz) and Motown itself (Mary Wells, Eddie Holland, The Supremes).   Among the most memorable songs of the year from Gordy’s burgeoning empire included The Miracles’ “You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me,” Marvin Gaye’s “Stubborn Kind of Fellow,” Mary Wells’ “The One Who Really Loves You” and “You Beat Me to the Punch,” and The Marvelettes’ “Beechwood 4-5789.”  Many of Motown’s most famous acts were still on the cusp of stardom, including The Supremes and The Temptations.  The Motown Unreleased series includes heretofore-unissued titles from artists both familiar and unfamiliar.

What tracks can you expect to find?  Hit the jump for the complete track listings and more!

The first volume of Jazz includes a complete album’s worth (twelve tracks) from The George Bohannon Quartet.  Hitsville trombonist Bohannon released two bossa nova-inflected sides on Workshop Jazz in 1963 (“Bobbie” b/w “El Rig”) from his album Boss Bossa Nova.  Bohannon’s unreleased tracks, all unveiled here, include such standards as Rodgers and Hart’s “It Never Entered My Mind,” Robert Wright and George “Chet” Forrest’s “Baubles, Bangles and Beads” from their musical Kismet, Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse’s “What Kind of Fool Am I?” from Stop the World, I Want to Get Off, and Frank Loesser’s “Joey, Joey, Joey” from The Most Happy Fella.  Bohannon went on to remain with Motown and work on such projects as the film Lady Sings the Blues.  The second Jazz volume features seven tracks from Beans Bowles and nine from The Johnny Griffith Trio.  Like The Bohannon Quartet, Griffith also released a 1963 single on the short-lived Workshop Jazz label (“I’mi See You Later” b/w “I Did”). Bowles was another longtime member of the Motown family who played saxophone on many early sessions before becoming a tour manager and musical director.

The Gospel collection is a lengthy one, with six tracks from The Burnadettes, five from Reverend Chas Glover, four from The Gospel Stars, nine from Reverend Columbus Mann and two from The Pronouns.  The Gospel Stars (Mae, Etta and Sandra Gooch, Elizabeth Davis, Lillian Woods and Lois Russell) had the distinction of seeing their 1961 recordings on the final Divinity single, released in July 1963.  The Burnadettes released their only Divinity single in May of that year.

Motown Unreleased: Girls introduces a whopping thirteen tracks from the bluesy singer Hattie Littles, who released one single (and saw another scheduled but shelved) in 1962, but remained with the company for roughly another three years.  (A second pressing of the “Your Love is Wonderful” single was also released in 1962, technically giving Littles two released singles.)  Six tracks from the Vandellas catalogue round out this set.  The Martha Reeves-led group made their debut in 1962 with the single “I’ll Have to Let Him Go” b/w “My Baby Won’t Come Back.”  The first volume of Guys has an eclectic roster.  Seven songs come from The Contours, and six apiece from The Creations, Freddie Gorman (of “Please Mr. Postman” and The Originals fame), and Marvin Gaye.  Still in his crooner mode, Gaye’s songs include a jazzy reinterpretation of “A Lot of Livin’ to Do” from Bye Bye Birdie and “Just in Time” from Bells Are Ringing.  Lastly, Volume 2 of Guys has two songs from Lee and the Leopards, five from Mike and the Modifiers, four from The Mysterions, two from Andre Williams, one each from Johnny Powers, Singin’ Sammy Ward, four from The Temptations and three from The Miracles.  The Leopards, The Modifiers, The Contours, The Creations and Ward all released singles in 1962, as did future superstars The Temps, The Miracles and Gaye.  The history of the Mysterions is question mark.  (Pun intended.)  Powers, said to be the first white male musician in Motown’s employ, recorded at Hitsville with producers Gaye and Clarence Paul in 1962.

Whatever the reason for their issuance, these six volumes represent a diverse treasure trove of material from one of the formative years at Motown.  Longtime collectors will likely be disappointed that no physical release has been announced, quite a contrast from the typically luxurious classic Motown projects issued by Hip-o Select.  But Hip-o honcho Harry Weinger has related some rather good news in a post on the Soulful Detroit forum: “All of the tracks in the digital releases were sourced from the mono Hitsville reference mixes.  Writer and producer info will be posted on an official site shortly.”  He added that, “Four of the six tracks by Martha & the Vandellas that are in the Motown Unreleased 1962 ‘digital album’ will be included in the forthcoming MR&TV Singles Collection set. They will, however, be in fresh extended mixes; some in stereo.”

In the meantime, you can order all six volumes of Motown Unreleased 1962 below!

Motown Unreleased 1962:  Jazz Vol. 1 (Motown, 2012)

  1. My Linda
  2. My Shining Hour
  3. It Never Entered My Mind
  4. Blue Phase
  5. Sue’s Blues
  6. Baubles, Bangles and Beads
  7. What Kind of Fool Am I
  8. Joey, Joey, Joey
  9. Climax
  10. Do You Love Me
  11. Love Speaks
  12. Some Other Time

All tracks performed by the George Bohannon Quartet.

Motown Unreleased 1962:  Jazz Vol. 2 (Motown, 2012)

  1. Autumn in New York
  2. Aicirtap
  3. Vanski
  4. Willow Weep for Me
  5. Fly Me to the Moon
  6. Beans
  7. Angel Eyes
  8. Willow Weep for Me
  9. Greensleeves
  10. Love Walked In
  11. Four – 1
  12. Blue and Nude
  13. This Could Be the Start of Something Big
  14. Crazy, She Calls Me
  15. Yesterdays
  16. George’s Dilemma

Tracks 1-7 performed by Beans Bowles
Tracks 8-16 performed by the Johnny Griffith Trio

Motown Unreleased 1962:  Gospel (Motown, 2012)

  1. Don’t Give Up
  2. He Never Fails
  3. Power in the Blood
  4. Step on Out
  5. Wonderful Jesus
  6. Lord, I’ll Never Turn Back
  7. Waiting and Watching
  8. Hold to God’s Unchanging Hand
  9. Don’t Stay Away, Sinner
  10. Lord, I’m Satisfied
  11. Lord, I Want to Be a Christian
  12. Jesus is His Name
  13. Keep On
  14. Deliver Me
  15. He Will Bring Everything Out All Right
  16. One More Chance
  17. Shall I Meet You
  18. It Was Love That Lifted Me
  19. Talking About Jesus
  20. How Glad I Am
  21. Jesus the Sweetest Name
  22. Do You Know the Lord Like I Do
  23. Hallejulah to Jesus’ Name
  24. Wash Me Thoroughly
  25. Redeemed
  26. Sit Down and Rest a While

Tracks 1-6 performed by The Burnadettes
Tracks 7-11 performed by Rev. Chas Glover
Tracks 12-15 performed by The Gospel Stars
Tracks 16-24 performed by Rev. Columbus Mann
Tracks 25-26 performed by The Pronouns

Motown Unreleased 1962:  Guys Vol. 1 (Motown, 2012)

  1. Love, I Need You
  2. You Don’t Love Nobody But You
  3. Trust in Me
  4. Why Don’t You Stop
  5. You’ve Got to Love Me
  6. Come to Me
  7. Mighty Good Lovin’
  8. Going to a Party
  9. Let’s Mash Potatoes
  10. Special Touch
  11. I’m Not Alone
  12. What’s Your Reason
  13. Remember Me
  14. The Good Has to Suffer with the Bad
  15. Just For You (A Growing Love)
  16. Past Time Lover
  17. A Lot of Livin’ to Do
  18. Out of This World
  19. Just in Time
  20. A Living Dream (Called a Girl)
  21. Connie
  22. Just Friends
  23. Tell All Your Friends
  24. Throw a Farewell Kiss
  25. Genuine Love

Tracks 1-7 performed by The Contours
Tracks 8-13 performed by The Creations
Tracks 14-19 performed by Marvin Gaye
Tracks 20-25 performed by Freddie Gorman

Motown Unreleased 1962:  Guys Vol. 2 (Motown, 2012)

  1. You’d Make a Fine Son-in-Law
  2. We Don’t Want to Go to School
  3. Devil You
  4. Only You
  5. Sally Jane
  6. I Heard (Rumors)
  7. Julie (Guess I’ll Never Understand)
  8. I Want to Do It Right
  9. You’ve Got to Pay Bills
  10. A Friend of Mine
  11. Call It What You Like
  12. So Blue
  13. Short Stop
  14. Hot Sausage
  15. Is It Yes or Is It No
  16. I Like It
  17. My Telephone is Ringing
  18. Oh Distant Lover
  19. Oh Mother of Mine
  20. Give Me Your Love
  21. Thank You for All You’ve Done
  22. Every Girl in Town

Tracks 1-2 performed by Lee and the Leopards
Tracks 3-7 performed by Mike and the Modifiers
Tracks 8-10 performed by The Miracles
Tracks 11-14 performed by The Mysterions
Track 15 performed by Johnny Powers
Tracks 16-19 performed by The Temptations
Track 20 performed by Singin’ Sammy Ward
Tracks 21-22 performed by Andre Williams

Motown Unreleased 1962:  Girls (Motown, 2012)

  1. Work Song
  2. Sticking with You (Nobody But You)
  3. I Pity the Fool
  4. Don’t Come Knocking on My Door
  5. Gotta Have Your Lovin’
  6. False Words
  7. The Man
  8. You’ve Got What It Takes
  9. Let’s Talk It Over
  10. This Time
  11. If You Leave Me Man
  12. Strange is My Love for You
  13. Ol’ Man River
  14. Watch Him Now
  15. I’ll Be Standing By
  16. You Just Wouldn’t Listen
  17. Better Think It Over
  18. It’s Hard to Walk Away
  19. I Want to Be with You Tonight

Tracks 1-13 performed by Hattie Littles
Tracks 14-19 performed by The Vandellas

Written by Joe Marchese

January 11, 2013 at 10:08

Posted in Compilations, Digital, News

2 Responses

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  1. It’s really interesting to see how the “use it or lose it” European copyright provision is forcing the huge labels to pull stuff out of the vaults and make it available (even if it’s in a limited run of 100 copies!). At least we get to see what they have in there!

    jackson

    January 11, 2013 at 10:48

    • I have to admit I don’t understand how this law can be enforced at a practical level, and Sony and Motown’s solutions seem to open the material up to being easily pirated. If the labels have this music in their vaults the European Union can’t force the labels to release the material to the “grey market” sellers. It is still the labels’ property and unless someone goes into their vaults and steals it will remain safely so as it has for 50 years. But now, by Sony’s actions in the case of Dylan, thousands of people have downloaded this material for free. Mostly the same people who would’ve been happy to pay for it if Sony had released it as a physical product. In what way have Sony benefitted from this? Motown at least is selling downloads so they will see some profit. I understand that by releasing these items they have staked a claim to copyright for the next 50 (or is it now 70?) years, but they have also devalued the copyright because many of the people who are most interested in this music have downloaded it for free. It seems counterproductive to me.
      In terms of this story, though, there is some very interesting looking stuff here. If I did downloads, I would be glad to try the two jazz volumes and the first “guys” collection. But until Hip-O Select releases these as a CD I will just have to imagine what this music sounds like.

      Jason Michael

      January 12, 2013 at 09:54


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